The Crown’s evidence is “woefully inadequate” against accused killer Cody Haevischer, his lawyer Simon Buck said Monday in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver.
During the start of his closing submissions in the Surrey Six murder trial, Buck cited previous testimony from the Crown’s three key witnesses that he said was conflicting and unreliable.
“The Crown has focused on the amount of evidence, not the quality of evidence,” Buck said.
Haevischer and co-accused Matthew Johnston are charged with conspiracy to murder drug dealer Corey Lal and with the first-degree murder of Lal and his brother Michael, Eddie Narong, Ryan Bartolomeo and innocent victims Ed Schellenberg of Abbotsford and Chris Mohan of Surrey.
The six were fatally shot on Oct. 19, 2007 in the Balmoral Tower apartments in Surrey.
The Crown’s closing submissions were presented last week. Prosecutors allege that Lal was the target of the hit, and the other five were killed because they were witnesses.
On Monday, Buck referenced the testimony of Michael Le, who previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder in the case, and to two others who can only be identified as Person Y, who is currently serving a life sentence for two unrelated murders, and K.M., Haevisher’s former girlfriend.
Buck said among conflicting testimony from the three were statements from Le and Person Y concerning a meeting that occurred at a Korean restaurant in Cloverdale in the hours before the murders.
The Crown alleges that this was one of two restaurant meetings held to confirm plans – laid out by Red Scorpion leader Jamie Bacon, formerly of Abbotsford – to kill Lal, who had not paid a $100,000 “tax” ordered by Bacon.
Le testified that Johnston was at the Korean restaurant meeting, while Person Y indicated that he was not, Buck said.
The lawyer also said several conflicting statements were made by K.M. both in her discussions with police and on the stand.
“(She) repeatedly lied to police … As such, she is a person of bad character … She was self-motivated and had no respect for the justice system,” Buck said.
He said other witness testimony revealed some conflicting information about the descriptions of three men seen in the Balmoral Tower parkade around the time of the murders.
Buck said a witness who testified to seeing three hooded and gloved men in the area was never shown a suspect lineup by police nor was she asked to point out anyone in the courtroom during her testimony.
Buck said the Crown did not present any evidence that Haevischer worked with Johnston or that he was part of the discussions about killing Lal.
As well, the Crown has said Haevischer and Johnston were in the suite at the time of the killings, along with a third person, who can only be identified as Person X, but there were only two shooters.
Johnston’s lawyer, Michael Tammen, will also present his closing submissions this week.
Justice Catherine Wedge is expected to reserve her verdict until the fall.
Person X previously pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the case and is serving a life sentence.
Bacon will be tried separately on one count each of conspiracy to commit murder and the first-degree murder of Lal.
Another man, Sophon Sek, is also awaiting trial, on a charge of manslaughter.